Decoder has asked the question before: do Congressional Republicans respect President Obama?
At a lunch with reporters Thursday sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, (R) of Virginia, actually used the “R” word, saying that he had had “the privilege of being in meetings with the president, both small and large,” and that although he and Obama disagree on many things,
“I respect his intellect.”
But Cantor then went on to draw a lengthy and not-so-favorable contrast between the president’s negotiating style and that of Vice President Joe Biden.
“It actually was a much different experience, working with the vice president, than I’ve had working with the president. The Biden discussions lasted for almost seven weeks. And the vice president was very deliberate, in terms of reaching out. He and I spoke on a weekly basis, sort of laid out the expectations, tried to manage those, to see if we could produce some results.”
Of course, the clash between Cantor and Obama during the debt ceiling negotiations was well-documented, with Cantor telling reporters that Obama had walked out of a meeting, and Democrats countering that Cantor had “rudely” interrupted the president.
In terms of the president’s jobs speech, Cantor said he hopes that Republicans and the president will be able to reach “common ground,” saying, “reality … demands that we begin to practice transcending differences.”
But when it came to possible planks in the president’s jobs proposal, he didn’t exactly swoon with enthusiasm.
“It’s not the best way to create incentives for a small business to create a job,” although it is “part of the mix.”
- Extending unemployment benefits?
“You don’t want to just have the benefits without trying to get people what they really want, which is a job.”
- Creating an infrastructure bank?
“An infrastructure bank is almost like creating a Fannie [Mae] and Freddie [Mac] for roads and bridges,” Cantor said, referring to the beleaguered federally-sponsored mortgage giants.
The Bottom Line: Republicans may be trying to show some willingness to work with the administration, but actually coming to an agreement on jobs is still going to be tough.
- See video clips from the lunch here, including Cantor’s views on the Obama administration and Israel, Rick Perry’s comments on Social Security, and the S&P downgrade.
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